Thursday, April 16, 2015

When Snow Falls by Brenda Novak

Published & Release Date: MIRA, November 1, 2012

Time and setting: Present Day, USA      

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Chick Lit

Length: 446 pages

Heat Level: 1 Scorching Hot Flame

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

After growing up in cheap motels, moving from town to town with her sister and mother, Cheyenne Christensen is grateful to be on her own. She's grateful, too, for the friends she found once her family settled in California. But she's troubled by the mystery of her earliest memories, most of which feature a smiling blonde woman. A woman who isn't her mother.

Although Cheyenne has repeatedly asked for explanations, the people who 
could help aren't talking. Cheyenne is set on finding answers, but without so much as a birth certificate, it won't be easy.

Things get even more complicated when her closest friend is attracted to the man Cheyenne has secretly loved for years. For Eve's sake, she decides to step aside—which lands her right in the arms of Dylan Amos, oldest and baddest of the hell-raising Amos brothers. He's the kind of guy she's sworn to avoid. She can't afford to make a mistake, not when she finally has a chance to learn who she really is and change her life for the better. But…maybe there's more to Dylan than she thought. Maybe letting him go would be a bigger mistake.

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Vikki’s Musings

I decided to read this second book in the Whiskey Creek Series because it was on sale, and I could get the audio for a very reasonable price. When Lightning Strikes was a mixed bag for me, so I did hesitate for a moment before downloading this next one in the series, but I love Brenda Novak’s historicals and thought I would give this series another chance. One thing I know about her books—expect the unexpected!

Cheyenne Christensen has a memory of herself as a very young child, in a pretty party dress and shiny black shoes in a room full of toys, but that memory has no place in the reality of her life. Her mother has dragged her and her sister from place to place until they end up in Whiskey Creek when her mother develops cancer.

Her mother beats cancer the first time, but now it is back and most of her care falls on Cheyenne’s shoulders since her sister is always partying, using drugs and associating with unsavory characters of the male variety.

Cheyenne longs for stability and peace, of which she has had little, and wants to find out why she has that nagging memory. No matter how many times she tries to talk to her mom about it, she never gets any answers and now it is almost too late.

To add to her confusion, the man she has crushed on since high school is showing interest, a man that will give her the stability she craves. There is one problem though; she is too attracted to bad boy, Dylan. What should she do? Choose the security Joe has to offer, or follow her heart and choose Dylan, a man with a less than stellar past?

There is a great deal to love about When Snows Falls. Ms. Novak does an amazing job in bringing me in and getting me fully vested in the story from the first page, but some of what happens in this book was uncomfortable. However, I could not put this one down and read/listened practically non-stop from beginning to end. It is such a compelling story that I had to keep reading to find out what direction it would take.

This is not a light-hearted read. There are lots of mixed up emotions for both the hero and the heroine. The plot is extremely complicated since it involves a love triangle for Cheyenne and Dylan with Joe thrown into the mix. In the beginning, the book seemed very straight forward. Girl from the wrong part of town with a totally mixed up family and the boy next door, a good ‘Joe’, no pun intended—I wonder if Ms. Novak chose that character’s name on purpose—fall in love and live ‘happily ever after’. However, that is not the case!

This is a messy love story with a confused, very immature heroine and a hero with a great deal of baggage as well. I could really get why Cheyenne wants to have a man to love who is stable and reliable, everything she has never had in her life. Joe represents respectability and acceptance. Dylan, on the other hand, will give her the exact opposite, or so she thinks, at least when they first come together.

This story kept me guessing which man she would choose throughout much of the book. I think that is what makes it such a fascinating read. At times I wanted to throw my Kindle against the wall and at other times, hug it close at the decisions Cheyenne makes. It is definitely a rollercoaster ride to say the least.

I do want to mention, I listened to the audio version narrated by Tara Sands. While Ms. Sands read with a great deal of expressions and I could easily distinguish between the character's, her voice tone made the females sound more like teenagers than mature women. That could have contributed to my feelings that Cheyenne came across as very immature.

I could go on and on about the complexity of the story and the characters, but I do not want to give anything away, so I will just say, this is a book you will want to read, if you enjoy flawed characters with deep-seated self-esteem issues, learning to cope and come to together in spite of all that is stacked against them. I suggest you give it a try. Happy reading! 

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